Amusements at Higashiyama in Kyoto

Kano School

Not on view

People from every social class can be seen in vignettes on this screen and its pair—samurai are the central protagonists, with courtiers and court ladies, itinerant performers, and mendicant monks also present. All these citizens of Kyoto take advantage of a sunny afternoon at the peak of the cherry-blossom season in the scenic Eastern Hills, or Higashiyama district. Each screen highlights a famous sacred site—the right shows Kiyomizudera Temple and the left Yasaka Shrine. Both feature a festive outdoor banquet attended by elite samurai. The intricately patterned gold clouds create a dramatic background for colorful genre scenes and inviting landscapes. Masterpieces of Kano school painting, the screens survive in remarkably fine condition and, though relatively small, convey the celebratory spirit of a country finally at peace after nearly a century of civil war.

Amusements at Higashiyama in Kyoto, Kano School, Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold, mica, and gold leaf on paper, Japan

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